The Importance of Dental Care for Expecting Mothers
Choosing a pediatric dentist shouldn’t be an exhausting mission for parents. Indeed, there are some non-writing but essential considerations you must take into account that relates to accompaniment by a recognized and warmhearted professional.
Dr. Nanna Ariaban is Board Certified Pediatric Dental Specialist member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), Georgia Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (GAPD), the Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentistry (SSPD), and the American Dental Association (ADA).
Dr. Ariaban’s recognitions include being the best pediatric dentist in Alpharetta for six consecutive years and being the Consumers’ Research Council Of America’s Top Pediatric Dentist twice. But these distinctions are marks she achieved by caring for the little ones and also for their mothers.
When asking what the best pediatric dentist for your kid is, we invite you to consider the importance of maternal child health, the bonding relationship with the mother, and the importance of caring for the unborn.
Dr. Ariaban’s experience accounts for treating pregnant women and assisting them with their dental needs, especially with issues that could propagate to their babies for a healthy pregnancy. This article addresses an essential aspect of this relationship – The Importance of Dental Care for Expecting Mothers.
Can Pregnancy Affect Your Dental Health?
Pregnancy is a beautiful experience, especially for new moms. Suddenly, after nine months holding a newborn in your arms is by no comparison the most sublime and touching experience a woman can experience. There is no more heavenly moment than when mother and child meet for the first time.
Few words describe the natural progression from pregnancy to motherhood. And as bringing life is an incommensurable experience, so are the biological adjustments and physiological transformation carrying a baby comprises.
One of the most substantial of them occurs with hormonal adjustments triggering loads of body chemicals to adequate the body for breeding and growing a baby. Also, nutrient absorption patterns, pH levels, and hormones produce changes, affecting tissues like the bones and teeth.
In short, having a baby is a beautiful experience that is also a physically demanding event. For instance, progesterone is a hormone that conditions the endometrium facilitating embryo implantation, making pregnancy safer, and assisting the mother in milk production.
These hormonal changes, including progesterone production, might compromise teeth and gums, leading to bleeding and inflamed gums, which is a mild case of a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis (gum disease). Care is essential during this stage to avoid progression to periodontitis that could weaken the alveolar bone.
A weak alveolar bone loses the capacity to hold teeth, leaving them loose and prone to fall off (tooth loss). But, rather than mere physiological changes, a mom’s body begs for bedding, and the exhaustion is so high that it is understandable they sometimes forget to brush their teeth.
Accordingly, to avoid pregnancy gingivitis in the first place, we strongly recommend that mommies avoid sugary snacks and eliminate any sort of sugary refreshment drinks like sodas from their diet.
We understand it is hard to resist sugary pregnancy cravings, but unstoppable snacking and progesterone effects on teeth make this combination harmful leading to tooth decay.
Pregnancy also comes with morning sickness producing acidic reflux that regurgitates in the mouth. The acids from your stomach could erode teeth enamel weakening your teeth.
The acids might make you feel like skipping morning brushing, which is understandable. Try rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash on those days, and wait until you have vomited to start your brushing and flossing routine.
To make this tremendous amount of information less disheartening, we include a list of things you can do:
- Brush and floss after meals and vomits;
- Avoid sugary foods, snacks, and drinks the most as possible. If you can’t hold on to sugary food cravings, make an extra effort to brush your teeth after meals;
- Expect pregnancy exhaustion. So if you forget to brush at night, set a reminder alarm to brush and floss in the mornings;
- Morning sickness is also habitual. Use water or mouthwash to rinse your mouth in the mornings, and brush and floss after vomiting. Try a smaller toothbrush accompanied by a flavorless toothpaste to reduce the sensitive gag reflex.
Complementarily, baby teeth development occurs between the third and sixth months of pregnancy. Nutritionists recommend an exact amount of minerals and vitamins in a mommy’s diet for the baby’s maturation and to counterbalance expected mineral loss in the mother.
How to Take Care of Teeth Health During Pregnancy
So far, we’ve detailed some of the events you can anticipate to take action during pregnancy to keep your teeth healthy and help your newborn have healthy teeth. Anticipation is critical for your health and especially for your kid.
We’ve placed a strong emphasis on the mother’s health, but the primary concern comes from the impact on the gestation baby. Untreated mild pregnancy gingivitis might lead to bacteria spreading through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to the uterus.
We reinforce the importance of dental health under scientific evidence demonstrating a linkage of MS [mutans streptococci] passing from a mother to a baby during pregnancy and after birth.
In the latter case, contamination occurs through saliva. But let’s leave that aside for a moment. Back to the gestation period (pregnancy), to overcome potential problems, we’ve listed some recommendations for you to set in practice during this time:
Brush Your Teeth
We talked about the importance of oral hygiene and brushing your teeth, and we must insist on this point. Saliva production decreases during pregnancy, and the best way to counteract bacterial spread is to brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day and before bedding.
Dental patients sometimes underestimate flossing, but the truth is that the toothbrush bristles hardly get on some entrenched spaces. The only form to clear debris near the gums is by flossing. So, imagine how important flossing is during pregnancy.
Diet and Supplements
The human body does not produce folic acid, which is essential for developing the baby’s nervous system. So it is critical, especially during pregnancy, to get supplemental folate to avoid significant congenital disabilities like the brain (anencephaly) and spine (spina bifida).
Besides, pregnant women require an additional supply of protein and minerals like calcium, which is indispensable for the bones and teeth, and phosphorus. The diet must also contain vitamins A, C, and D.
ADA Approved gum that contains xylitol does not replace brushing. Still, it might help you stimulate saliva production and have your mouth cleaner.
Among the Perinatal Oral Health Practice Guidelines, periodontal care prevents mothers from suffering periodontal disease from mild gingivitis to periodontitis. Most importantly, it decreases the chance of pathogen contamination through the bloodstream.
Talk to your dentist about dental work safety precautions and recommendations during pregnancy. Be aware of obstetric controls and discuss whether you will receive a dental checkup, so your doctor can inform you of special requirements or warn you to avoid specific procedures before attending a dental office.
Can Poor Oral Health Affect Your Pregnancy?
The focal point of this discussion includes an eye-opening staggering fact. Scientific data about the importance of dental care during pregnancy reveals that periodontal disease might cause 18% of premature births.
Bacteria that enter the mother’s mouth breed and reproduce in the gums. It enters and migrates through the bloodstream to other body parts, including the uterus cord reaching the unborn.
Moreover, Pediatric Dentistry in 2008 published an article revealing evidence that the mother is the primary colonization source of MS [mutans streptococci] in their children.
Furthermore, proper care doesn’t end with pregnancy. Newborn care is as quintessential as pregnancy care, as the newborn exposes to an unfamiliar environment that extends further to the first baby teeth sprouting, which is when teeth are increasingly vulnerable.
Consequently, we alert parents about relevant information they must consider during baby infantry:
- Avoid kissing the baby on the mouth;
- Refrain from sharing eating utensils;
- Don’t check a bottle’s warmth by mouth;
- Don’t get a pacifier near your mouth;
- Avoid wiping your baby’s mouth with a saliva-moistened cloth and;
- Not letting any person kiss your baby.
Common Dental Health Problems in Babies
Now that we’ve moved from pregnancy to caring for the newborn, it is time to list some common dental health problems that could affect babies.
Development of Malocclusion Problems
Sometimes, it is easy to sit and make lists telling parents what not to do, but we must be empathetic and understand what’s happening. Indeed, sometimes calming and getting your kid asleep seems mission impossible until they get a pacifier or start Thumb Sucking.
We invite you to read How Does Thumb-Sucking or Pacifier Use Affect the Bite? For more information about how to deal with pacifier usage and avoid future malocclusion problems in your kid.
Dental Caries in Kids’ Baby Teeth
Brushing and flossing are fundamental for a kid as it impacts adulthood, so don’t underestimate baby teeth care based on the assumption they will eventually fall anyway.
Also, denying the importance of flossing could produce dental decay as unseeingly food particles might produce dental plaque that unwittingly harms your kid’s teeth. We recommend parents be their children’s role models, teaching them how to brush and floss and guiding them until they can handle doing it alone.
Turner’s teeth is a condition in which the protective layer of teeth, named enamel, is not thick enough to protect teeth against environmental factors, including bacteria. There are two sources of Turner’s Hypoplasia, one of which derives from environmental factors like premature birth, malnutrition, infections, or developing teeth trauma.
We recommend parents schedule their kids’ first dental visit at six months or when the first baby teeth sprout. A first dental visit helps the specialist elucidate problems in teeth development or check for potentially occurring conditions such as tongue tie that can delay functions like speech.
When Care Comes First, Parents Know It
Dr. Nanna Ariaban has years of experience working with expecting mothers, providing dental health assistance and counseling for their baby’s health. Care comes first; this means your children receive 5-star oral care that includes:
- Digital X-Rays;
- Dental Fluoride treatments;
- Dental Sealants;
- Dental Crowns;
- Baby Rooth Canal;
- Nitrous Oxide;
- Tooth Extractions and;
- Nutrition Counseling.